• Archives

Is It Hard To Make Arrangements With Yourself

0b4d4e25cfce5df02d1ef905a4a2b266

B+.  I give myself a B+ for the tour. Guys, I did everything I could. Wore dresses, heels, make up and  bling. I flossed like a mother fucker. I met some incredible booksellers and librarians. And lots of bridge ladies with teased hair and leopard print tops, bags and shoes. Love talking no trump with the bitches of South Beach. I have to take some points off for forgetting to use sunscreen and eating for two. Missed you guys.

What’s the worst author reading you ever went to?

How Do You SOlve a Problem Like Maria

I’ve spent thirty years as an editor and now agent talking writers off the ledge. That’s what we do. And it’s never more intense than in the two months before publication when anything and nothing can happen. When all your hopes and dreams could fill a dirigible floating over the city. Your fears and anxieties florid and deranged.

nh43901-enhanced

HOw do I talk people off the ledge. First, I remind them their book is awesome, how much work it took, their dedication, their craft, how worthwhile it is even before a single copy is sold. Then I tell them stories the way you tell children stories to keep the bogey man away or stories to make them feel hopeful, about little trains that could. Or little books that grew up into mighty oaks. I get them thinking about their next book, about their inner life as a writer, about the long distance race. If all this fails, I suggest, they go shopping, to the movies, mani/pedi, hit the gym, start tutoring kids. If you’re in therapy: stay. If you’re not: start.

When I try to talk myself off the ledge, I realize something very scary. I am the ledge. Any advice?

 

 

Don’t Tell Me Not To Live

bettyvillecollagex750

Last night, I had the great honor of escorting my friend and client George Hodgman to the National Book Critics Circle Awards; his book Bettyville was a finalist. Ittook place at New School’s beautiful auditorium that looks like the inside of a deco egg. It was a star-studded event. To the left of us, Helen McDonald sans hawk. Directly in front of me Paul Beatty who I’ve loved since his first book of poems. Wendell Berry seemed annoyed to be receiving a lifetime achievement award. Everywhere in attendance proud editors, agents and family members. Margo Jefferson’s memoir Negroland won in George’s category, autobiography. No complaint there, but still I have to admit that in the moment before the winner’s name is announced, I found myself hoping with the fervor of a small child making a birthday wish. We consoled and celebrated over a long and delicious dinner with friends where much publishing gossip was exchanged. A meal in itself. When I think about reading the first pages George shared with me and sitting with him last night, and all the work in between that went into Bettyville, I feel so fortunate. Publishing doesn’t always fuck you over,

They Say as a Child I Appeared a Little Bit Wild

 

tumblr_m5agp4ws751rxiaoto1_500Someone recently asked me if I felt anxious about the book coming out because it is so personal. Get to know me. I’m anxious because it might not sell. I’m anxious because the New York Times might say mean things, or worse say nothing at all. I’m anxious because if I fail it’s not only in front of my friends and family, but the publishing profession where I work. I’m anxious because I’m not in therapy and I probably should be. I’m anxious because I don’t feel like myself, meaning I feel a little hopeful and that is just not part of the package.  I’m anxious because it’s all out of my hands now with the exception of boosting Facebook pages and going up and down Fifth avenue in the sandwich boards I’ve made with the Queen of Hearts on both sides.

What makes you anxious about getting your work out there? What’s your worst fear?

Long as I Know How to Love I Know I’ll Stay Alive

08hodgman3-master18051q6c2lxz4l-_sx329_bo1204203200_Congratulations to my dear friend and client GEORGE HODGMAN on his NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE nomination. New York Times Bestseller Bettyville available in paperback  March.

Are you the kind of person who prepares his acceptance speech or wings it?

My Dream It Lingered Near

 

231007171343

Three years ago, I started working on a new book. It was going nowhere fast and my husband kept saying that I had to use my blog voice. My what? My sociopath voice? My whiney vaginey voice? My pitted, potted, sometimes besotted voice. My childlike wonder, my hemorrhoidal idyll, my knock knock give a dog a bone. Short story long: my new book is coming out in May, 2016. It wouldn’t exist if not for the four years of writing here, the incredible love and support from our merry band. Even the guy who said he wanted to kill me and Patti Smith with a pitchfork. You gave me the chance to develop my voice, and as we say in these parts, I finished the fucker. Will say more about it soon. Until then, THANK YOU dearest readers of this blog. Love, Betsy

You’re Wearing Out Things That Nobody Wears

bn-ld714_sebast_g_20151108115323

No shit. Sebastian Junger shows up on The Affair. You know, the program I’m watching because I’m still in love with McNulty. Junger has a cameo. He plays himself and he says he claims to use reiki to help him write. Really? Let’s talk about this. I’ve never tried any alt methods to help with writing. On the contrary, I’ve always felt that writer’s block is god’s gift to man. I’m old school: the only thing that produces writing is writing. Plus, I love my demons way too much to release them. Plus, I’m ticklish.

What about you? Massage, meditation, yoga, long walks with a stick? What helps?